By Alexandra Burlacu | Mar 11, 2013 10:32 AM EDT
Samsung will unveil its next-generation Galaxy S4 smartphone on Thursday, March 14 at an event in New York City, so here's what to expect:
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will reportedly sport a larger display with ultra-high resolution, a faster processor, as well as trademark Eye Scroll technology to track a user's eyes to determine when to scroll through pages on the display.
The South Korean tech giant also suggested the Samsung Galaxy S4 will still have a plastic body like its previous generations, not aluminum like the recently announced HTC One smartphone.
As with any big event about to happen, rumors and speculation keep swirling in anticipation, and the Galaxy S4 definitely has generated plenty of hype. According to various sources, the next-generation Galaxy smartphone will sport a 5-inch display with a 1080 x 1920 resolution at 440 pixels per inch (ppi), the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on board, a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz or faster, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2.2-megapixel front camera, 4G LTE and faster 802.11 ac Wi-Fi.
Considering that the popular Samsung Galaxy S3 is already a powerhouse, the Galaxy S4 has some big shoes to fill, and it also has to compete with the next-generation iPhone expected in June, the HTC One, and other Android smartphones that may make their debut this year.
The Samsung Galaxy S3 is the company's top-selling smartphone. According to research firms IDC and Gartner, half of the smartphones Samsung sells are running on Google's Android, the world's top mobile operating system, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global smartphone market.
"Samsung has been successful in positioning itself as the only alternative to Apple's iPhone, and with that comes a much higher expectation [for the Galaxy S4]," explains Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, as cited by ComputerWorld.
Other analysts agree that the next-generation Galaxy smartphone is a huge thing for Samsung, as the company has to maintain its leading position. The hype surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S4 is even greater than last year's buzz for the Galaxy S3, and consumers now expect big improvements. Topping the Galaxy S3 in a big way will certainly not be easy for Samsung.
When it comes to the eye-tracking software, a Samsung employee told the New York Times, under condition of anonymity, that Galaxy S4 users will be able to read articles on the phone's display, and when their eyes reach the bottom of the page, the eye-tracking software will automatically scroll down.
The technology behind this eye-tracking software is still a mystery for now, but Samsung filed for trademarks in Europe and the U.S. to call it "Eye Scroll." The current Galaxy S3 flagship uses Smart Stay, a feature that employs the handset's front camera to determine when the user is looking at the screen to keep the display lit.
Although not all users may be interested in using a feature such as Eye Scroll, the technology has the potential to pave the way to a whole new set of innovations in terms of facial and hand-gesture tracking.
According to Milanesi, Samsung is taking quite a big risk sticking to a plastic body with the Galaxy S4, especially as rivals such as HTC are taking it to the next level with more elegant aluminum bodies. The risk for Samsung is having its devices feel cheaper than rivals' products, while carrying a high-end price tag.
Samsung explained its choice by arguing that bendable plastic allows for easier opening of the back cover to remove the battery, and it also helps absorb physical impacts. Moreover, the company is also taking into account how quickly and efficiently it can manufacture a device, and plastic wins over aluminum in this department.
Screen Resolution & Pixel Density
As previously mentioned, the Samsung Galaxy S4 will reportedly boast a screen resolution of 440 ppi or higher, as per various reports. For the sake of comparison, the Galaxy S3 has a pixel density of 306 ppi and the iPhone 5's display comes in at 326 ppi. The human eye, however, can only detect about 340 ppi, so what's above may be an overkill and go unnoticed.
The Samsung's Galaxy S4 rumored processing power may be in the same situation as the higher pixel density. The next-generation Galaxy smartphone may reportedly pack an eight-core processor, but people might not even notice the difference.
According to some reports, the Galaxy S4 will boast Samsung's Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor, but some analysts are questioning whether that processor would work without running too hot and draining out the battery too quickly. Japanese blog RBMen, meanwhile, suggests the processor could go up to 1.9GHz, possibly packing a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. Either processing options would likely require a boost from the 2,100mAh battery found in the current Samsung Galaxy S3.
The global Samsung Galaxy S3 packs a Samsung Exynos 4 quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz, while the U.S. version of the handset as a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 definitely has some big shoes to fill as the Galaxy S3 successor, but Samsung's event promises to come with plenty of marketing bells and whistles to hog the spotlight and tout the next-generation smartphone's hardware and software improvements.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 unveiling will take place at Radio City Music Hall on March 14, and the company promises to live-stream the event on YouTube starting at 7 p.m. ET.
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